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PLIF: Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LIF) is generally employed to treat leg or back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. It involves stabilizing the spine by removing the damaged disc material and placing bone graft in the newly empty disc space between the vertebrae. This helps to eliminate pressure on nerve roots while realigning the spine. A bone graft is a surgical procedure that is generally used to fix problems with bones or joints. Transplanting bone tissue is called bone grafting, and is used to not only fix bones that may have experienced trauma, but also help grow bone around a device that has been implanted. Over time, the bone graft grows and connects the vertebrae. An Anterior LIF is performed through a three to five inch incision in the abdomen.

After a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, most patients will be able to leave the hospital 3 to 5 days after the surgery. The recovery period afterwards lasts 4 to 6 weeks, and PLIF patients are advised to avoid situations and positions where they would have to bend at the waist, or lift more than five pounds. In the first 2 to 4 weeks after the operation, patients should also avoid twisting their hips. Patients usually do not have to wear a brace after a posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery.

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